A Guide to Becoming a Member

Central Philadelphia Meeting welcomes your interest in formally joining our community. Below are some quick links to the process and suggestions about how to get to know us better. 


The process for applying for membership:

  • Applying for membership
  • Our invitation

Ways to get to know us better:

  • Meeting for worship
  • Meeting for business
  • Attenders & Outreach Committee
  • Other meeting activities
  • Literature, videos, and online resources

Applying for membership

Write a letter

If you feel led to join the meeting formally, the first step is to write a letter to the meeting expressing your desire. Tell us why you feel drawn to the fellowship of the Religious Society of Friends and to our meeting in particular and your sympathy with our principles and testimonies.

Send it to our mailing address (Central Philadelphia Meeting, 1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia, PA 19102) or email it to the office at office@cpmm.org

Feel free to ask anybody for guidance in writing your letter, but Membership Care Committee, which handles application for membership, will be especially eager to help; contact office@cpmm.org or call the office, 215-241-7260.

The letter is read to the meeting

Your letter is read to the monthly meeting for worship with attention to our business, and then it is passed on to Membership Care Committee.

Clearness committee

Goal. Membership Care Committee then puts together a small group, called a clearness committee, which will be in touch with you to set up a meeting. In its meetings with you, you and the clearness committee seek to become clear that membership in Central Philadelphia Meeting is the right thing for both you and the meeting.

Conversation. The clearness committee will have questions about why you’re attracted to Quakerism and to our meeting in particular, how well you know the meeting and the Quaker way, the nature of your spiritual life and how you think it will fit in with the Quaker way, how the meeting can nurture you in the life of the spirit, and the nature of the gifts, talents, and commitment that you will bring to the meeting community.

Timing. It often takes a couple of meetings to get to know each other well enough, so the overall process usually takes a few months.

Membership Care Committee

When you and the clearness committee become clear about whether membership is the right path, then the clearness committee brings a recommendation to Membership Care Committee, and then Membership Care Committee brings its recommendation to the meeting as a whole in a meeting for business.

Meeting discernment

The final discernment of the meeting is laid over for one more month. These two monthly business meetings give the community a chance to ask questions of Membership Care and to get to know you better.

Welcome party

Once your membership is approved, Membership Care Committee chooses a couple of people to organize a welcome gathering.

Making sure

Sometimes we ask an applicant to wait a while to get to know us better and then to apply again when they are sure they want to. Occasionally, it becomes clear to the applicant, to the clearness committee, or to both, that the applicant should look for some other spiritual home, though usually she or he is still welcome join us in worship and our other activities.

Our invitation

But we don’t want to scare you off. We love welcoming new people into our fellowship and we feel enriched by all who join us. We hope you’ll be one of them.

Getting to Know Us

Meeting for worship

Opportunities. Attending meeting for worship is the easiest and most direct way to become acquainted with the meeting. Lots of other members and attenders are there, so it affords a chance to meet folks, especially in our social time after meeting for worship closes. We try to keep a lookout for new people, so hopefully, some members will try to get to know you. The announcements will give you a sense of the meeting’s activities. And our sharing of joys and sorrows at the rise of meeting will take you into the heart of our meeting’s caring life.

The spirit of the meeting. At a deeper level, the messages in the meeting for worship take you into the spirit of the meeting. And at a deeper level yet, sometimes the meeting for worship sinks into a sublime sense of presence beyond that of conversation, or even of deep sharing. We feel present to each other “in that which is eternal,” as the first Friends put it; we feel ushered into the presence of something deeper, a Spirit which we might all name differently, but which we all experience as the same. We call this experience a covered or gathered meeting for worship, and it is the fulfillment of our hope as a worshipping community.

Meeting for business

The meeting conducts its business once a month as a meeting for worship that is focused on the life of the meeting. We have no governing hierarchy or professional leadership, so all the meeting’s decisions are made by the members in these meetings, usually after one of our committees has prepared the matter for consideration. Thus, the meeting for business in worship is a great opportunity to learn about the meeting and what we're up to and to see the Quaker way in action. Without this understanding, you really don’t know the meeting. So if you’re considering becoming a member, you really should attend some meetings for business.

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